tv CNN Special Report CNN December 19, 2016 9:00pm-10:01pm PST
hello, welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. live in los angeles, it's just gone 9:00 p.m. on the west coast. at least a dozen people are dead, after a truck plows into a crowded christmas market in berlin. also, shot in the back, turkey's russian ambassador assassinated while delivering a speech. donald trump responds toen mod's violence on a day that brought him another step closer to the white house. first, though, slaughter at a christmas market in berlin, the white house says it appears to have been a terrorist attack.
12 people were killed when the driver of a truckloaded with tons of steal barreled into a packed market on monday evening. at least 48 other people have been hurt. some of the images you're about to see now are graphic and disturbing. this is cell phone video recorded moments after the attack. one man was caught near the scene, he's in custody. another man found dead in the truck. fred? >> reporter: the police are confirming they have forensic units on the scene investigating right now, they're going to continue doing that the entire night. they have one man in custody. at this point in time, they're not sure what the nationality of that man is, and also whether they can be 100% certain this was the person that was sitting at the wheel of the tractor-trailer as it plowed through the market monday night.
there was a second man in the vehicle on the passenger seat found there dead. and that man is a polar citizen. that's significant, because the truck also has polish license plates, it belongs to a trucking company from northeastern poland. that trucking company lost contact with its driver and had already feared something horrible happened to him. potentially this truck got hijacked and used to run into this christmas market here, it was loaded with some metal rods, 25 tons which would not have only made this vehicle fast, as it rolled into this christmas market, very heavy as well as it hit a lot of those stalls and plowed through people as well. we have some harrowing accounts from folks who were on hand here saying, it happened very quickly, the truck was doing about 40 miles an hour, as it moved in, it made no effort to hit the breaks and then just
rolled right through the witness christmas markets for several yards before finally coming to a stop at least 12 people killed in this incident. more than 40 people were injured in the incident the police are on hand. they have several units from different agencies here. the investigation is going to take some time as the police does its forensic work and moves forward with this information. joining me here in los angeles, aaron cohen a former member of israel's special victims unit. can you tell us the significance of where this attack happened? near the kaiser willhem church? >> this is a busy area of
berlin. it's one of the main shopping thoroughfares in berlin. it has one of the better known christmas markets which draw in thousands of tourists from all over the world and local berliners and germans who come up to the city to enjoy the holiday spirit. late yesterday evening this incident happened. parts of the market area have been reopened, but the area is filled with all kinds of police and security units. >> do you believe the location carries any special significance? was this simply a soft target waiting to be hit? >> i think it's a combination of both. the reason why is terrorists are known to go after large youded areas. i believe this particular area was thoroughly crowded it made a good target. it's a combination of the two, the fact that there's a heavy
holiday suggestion and where the market was. there's a combination of the two, it's actually a soft target that was ruk rahtive for a would be terrorist. >> this is how some of the witnesses described what happened at the market. listen to this. >> i saw the top of the truck coming toward the crowd, toward the market. people started running, started screaming. i think people thought there was a terrorist attack happening. people dropped whatever they were carrying and ran for cover. >> we heard a bang, crash from the left side of us, and we looked over and the christmas lights overhanging the market started to be torn down. and the vehicle went from our left to right, crushing into people, it completely decimated. >> if you take the references out to the christmas decorations
and replace that with maybe french flags, they could be describing what happened in nice back in july, bastille day, couldn't they? >> it feels similar, and it could very well be describing exactly what happened on bastille day there's a similar print, this could be closely related to what we should be thinking as an act of terror. we have to be careful until the investigators get finished investigating. there was a large crowd, and drove this truck packed with metal. the truck was apparently stolen for the purpose of being able to create as much damage as possible in the shortest period of time. that's the print of terrorism. >> the owner of the truck company, he believes the truck itself may have been hijacked at some point. this is what he said, listen to this.
>> translator: the person who was driving and jumped out of the truck was not my driver. i can vouch for my driver, i can see they did something to him and hijacked his truck. it was a good truck. they could have done what they did. it was not my driver. they simply did something to him. god forbid, that's how it looks. >> and if he's -- if this is how it all played out, does this raise a whole new level of security concerns? >> it doesn't raise a whole new level of security concerns, we already have security concerns, europe has been in trouble for a bit of time here, what we saw in nice. if this is true, john, my gut instinct is that there was operational planning here, whoever it was that did hijack this truck, if it was hijacked, did so for the purpose of being able to create more layers of
secrecy between the weapon and the vehicle and the actual attack, which means there was planning involved. so if there was in fact planning involved, that brings us a lot closer to terrorism, we want to be able to carry out this attack, and have no traceability to the actual perpetrators of the attack. >> they do have a suspect who's been arrested. does that mean this investigation should move forward at least faster than what we've seen in the past? >> having someone in custody means you can investigate, interrogate, you can -- you can physically extract information out of him to be able to start to trace back where the attacks stemmed from the fact that they have someone who's incredibly helpful. we'll see what's gleaned from the interviews in the next coming days. >> if you look at this, and the german officials are being cautious here. they're not calling it an attack at this stage. it looks like an attack.
they're not talking about islamic terror here in anyway. why the caution from those officials? >> i believe it's because chancellor merkel has had a very tough time in the last year and a half due to her immigration policy. she gets criticized quite heavily. she has an internal problem as far as the risk is concerned with the amount of immigration that's led to this type of situation they're currently looking at -- or currently facing right now. i think she's playing it carefully. she doesn't want to get into any more hot water than she already is. >> other countries also, like we saw in nice and so and and so forth, they're being as quiet as possible and trying to downplay the terror angle in order to be able to eliminate all the possibilities of it being terror first, and it being terror when
she ultimately has to. which isn't the best way to investigate terrorism. we found that it's -- in britain and israel, the sooner you can sort of call it terror, the sooner you can get to calling it terror and working backwards from there, the quicker you can get out of the crime thing, which will help you prevent a future attack, if there was another one in the planning at some point. i think she's being politically correct, careful. i get where she's coming from, at the end of the day, we have a specific person or a group of people went to a crowded place, i think it's -- it's no secret what could be happening. >> if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, chances are -- okay. so we had a situation where the german officials had in fact wa warned or were worried about the potential for these christmas markets becoming targets, and yet it still happened. is that a failure of intelligence or would anyone
find it difficult to try to prevent this kind of attacks. i think there's 60 open air christmas markets in berlin alone. >> it's time to get security companies on contract to protect large amounts of people where they congregate. if you're going to have security that's workable or that does what it's supposed to do, traditionally, security hasn't been designed for terrorism, the terror method of -- or the security method for counter terror, you want to have the three d's in place, and you can use that in the private sector, you can have undercover police officers in there as well. you have the deterrents which is the uniformed security guards. they have to be armed. there needs to be security in place, it's doable. it's time to implement it. >> i want to play you this sound from the berlin minister. he's unclear if this was an attack. listen to what he said.
>> our free society needs us to be open and celebrate christmas as a festival of family, this has been destroyed here today. i caution everyone not to jump to conclusions or change our way of life. >> not to change our way of life. given what's happened in berlin. is that going to be possible? >> no, it's not going to be possible, there has to be a change. there has to be a change in the security tone and the way europe and the 60 other countries that are engaged in the war on terror, look at their security. if they don't accept the fact that there needs to be some type of change, which means real security in place, private, undercover, uniformed, armed, trained in counter terror tactical response, which involves guns, especially when you have a truck ramming into a crowd of people, you have to fire a weapon to stop it, the security needs to reflect the change. it will become part of the
paradigm shift. when i hear comments like that, i'm like, come on. >> stay with us, we have michael schneider, he's a reporter with tvn in pole anned. he had a chance to speak to the owner of the truck, used in the attack in berlin a few hours ago. michael, we have heard from the owner of the truck who said he believes that it was basically hijacked somewhere on route to berlin. what more did you find out? >> it was a very stressful conversation with the owner of the company. we spoke to him around 9:30 p.m. local time. and attacked the place only an hour earlier, we saw the footage coming live from berlin and saw a truck with polish license plates. at first the owner of the company, she was absolutely positive that his driver had nothing to do with this, that he had a hunch -- a very bad
feeling that his driver might have been some sort of a victim in this situation. as we say in poland, he vouched with his arm and his leg. that's pretty strong words. i followed up on that, that's when the owner of the company said the driver who was taking care of the truck on that day was his cousin. at that time we didn't know much. there are new developments called money pl, their journalists have gotten in touch with the company. it turns out that between 3:44 p.m. around 5:30 p.m. someone was trying to start the car a few times, it looked at the
interpretation of the people from the company that it looks like someone was simply trying to figure out how to drive a truck like that. sao that could indicate that perhaps someone stole the car, had no idea how a truck like that works, how to drive it, and was trying to learn it. and around 7:30 p.m. so around less than 40 minutes, is when the car took off for good. >> okay. michael snyder, there on the line with new details about what may have happened in the hours before the attack. appreciate you being with us. aaron cohen, also appreciate analysis of what has happened and what may happen in the days ahead. thank you for being with us. catch up with you next hour. we'll take a short break, more on our other breaking news, the russian ambassador to turkey has been assassinated. we'll hear about the possible ramifications around the worlds. technology is the only thing that really entertains us.
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stand together. andre karlov was shot in ankara. we're about to play it, you may find it graphic. [ gunfire ] >> alla akbar. >> he shouted god is greatest. what is the latest we have now? >> we have the everyone teer yore minister come out a few hours after that horrific video of the ambassador getting shot emerged. and identify the attacker as riot police officer. we know where he went to high school, we know where he went to police academy. we know he's been in the riot police for the last 2 1/2 years.
so far we don't know crucial things that are going to define turkish/russian relations going-forward. what links if any did this attacker have with active terror groups in turkey. was he affiliated with one of the usual suspects that carry out terror attacks here in turkey like the pkk or isis. pro government media has been quick to point the finger at a terror group responsible for an attempted coup attempt last july. with russian investigators coming in to take part in this investigation. we're going to see a lot more detail emerge on what possible links this attack er had with ay known terror groups. what we do know so far is his message in the video, as he was
carrying out this horrific attack was referring to the bloodshed that has been taking part in aleppo saying, do not forget aleppo, do not forget syria whether or not this was a lone wolf attack or was more org niced is going to be at the heart of how turkish russian relations end up coming together over the next couple of days and we're going to see whether or not that relationship which has been repaired and has been cooperative on syria will continue to be rapprochement or will sour. >> thank you. >> more on this story now. jill dougherty. jill, first to you, with an announcement of the shooting. the turkish and russian
presidents made similar statements. listen to this. >> translator: the committed crime is obviously a provocation designed to spoil russia/turkey relations. and derailing peace process in syria. >> after the incident during the talk with mr. putin, we agreed this was a provocation and on behalf of my country and my nation, i repeat my condolences to mr. putin and all the russian people. >> it seemed there was a conscious effort to show there's no daylight between these two leaders right now? >> absolutely, a year ago at this time, they were at each other's throats especially vladimir putin, right after the turks had shot down the russian military plane, putin said it was a stab in the back by
turkey, a few months ago, they completely did a 180, changed the relationship, brought the two countries together. it's quite obvious they're going to make sure even this horrendous act is not going to create a casm between them. i think that's predictable they will probably move on as hard as it may seem at this point. but move on in the relationship, because they both need each other in syria. >> that's the official position. unofficially, though, many russian politicians and others in russia seem to have a very different take on what happened. >> that's true, and you could say some in turkey have a different take on it too. after all, turkey has been really the -- i guess you could call it the protector of aleppo, they've been critical of the russian actions supporting the syrian government in aleppo. and that could be, you know, obviously, that was the sensible
motivation by the attacker, at least as far as we can tell from that video. there may be the people of both country that is don't quite accept it. the governments want this relationship to be mended. want to be working together as much as they can. and so that's going to be the official line. that i may be why you're getting this reference to fatullah gulan who is in the united states, as we all know, self-exiled. that potentially brings in the united states, even though the u.s. doesn't have anything to do with this, the fact that gulan is in the united states could create a problem, because the turks could want him extradited. >> jill stays with us, how this relationship moves out. there are a lot of questions being asked. how did this turkish police
officer get so close to the russian ambassador, could they have prevented there, could there have been screening, should the turkish officials know if something like this could have been in the planning? >> typically, consular or embassy security is attached to ambassadors and consoles all over the world. most major countries have some type of diplomatic security detail. they're given concealed weapons permits, highly trained within their own governments. most countries, the u.s. has a diplomatic security service. what i don't quite understand is where was the russian security detail. this was an ambassador who's been in the business since the '70s if i'm not mistaken and considered a key figure. so i don't understand where his
security detail was if there was a security detail. they completely failed. the police officer was standing behind the ambassador and able to draw a weapon. there was no screening or cordoning prior to coming into that art show. total failure on the security side where was the security detail. and if they were there, heads need to role. you only get remembered for your sole mistake in the security industry. i get the sense there wasn't actual security present based on the fact that he's dead serious red flag. >> putin is sending his own investigators to turkey to try to find out what happened. is that standard or is there more going on here? >> i would have to think there's more going on here the russians really want to get to the bottom
of this, how it happened. president putin wants to know who ordered this i think there's a chapter two coming as this investigation continues, to find out whether they pin it on someone. whether they can say that it actually was ordered as opposed to one particular individual carrying out that attack. >> jill, thank you aaron cohen here in los angeles giving us the security perspective on everything. we will take a short break. when we come back, donald trump is condemning the terror attacks. we'll have more from the u.s. president-elect in a moment. i've invested a lot in this game.
welcome back to our viewers in the united states and all around the world. here are the headlines, monday's attack on a christmas market is being investigated as an act of terrorism. 12 people were killed. a truck barreled into the crowd. one man is in custody. police say he's a polish citizen and was not driving during the attack. turkey and russia are investigating the attack in turkey. the 21-year-old gunman shouted, do not forget aleppo, and god is greatest. donald trump is condemning the assassination, it's a violation of civilized orders, carried out by a radical terrorist. trump offered condolences to the
victim of the berlin truck attack and vowed to air rad indicate terrorists. >> innocent civilians were murdered in the streets. isis and other islamist terrorists continually slaughter christians in their communities. he's already blaming islamic terrorism, the german authorities haven't gone that far. he did this in the campaign, he's jumping ahead. >> it has the hallmarks of what we've seen before again, it is jumping the gun. it's one thing to do this as a candidate, another to do it as president. about china, with unprecedented spelled incorrectly. what is the process that the president-elect is going through before he puts this out to the
world. is michael flynn reading it, rex tillerson, general mattis or him reacting instantly. that's going to be very different as president even than it's been as candidate. >> everything that's happened in the last 24 hours presents a picture of a complicated complex world, it would be a challenge for any incoming president. one who is at odds right now with his own intelligence community. is there trouble ahead? >> the degree of conflict we have not seen. some of the leaks that have come out in the last few weeks, a reminder of how much discomfort the intelligence community can cause for a president if they seem to be at war with him. a secretary of state with the nominee, with no real diplomatic experience. deal making experience around the world. a national security adviser who has been at odds.
it's a very unpredictable position. especially because donald trump has questioned so much of the post world war ii role. what's in it for us. >> let's move on to the electoral college. it became official monday. donald trump is the president-elect. the new york times report, trump's electoral college vote ranks 46 out of 58 elections, his popular vote puts him 47th of the last 49 elections. >> only two presidents ever lost the popular vote percentage wise than he did. hillary clinton won the popular vote by more than jimmy carter and jfk. donald trump is coming in with less of a honeymoon and a more
divided country. he will have the lowest approval rating of any newly inaugurated president in gallop poling going back to dwight eisenhower in 1953. it's not going to mean much in terms of influencing the agenda, republicans have unified control, and they're going to drive forward the built up agenda over the last several years, he's starting on an island. he doesn't have that big honeymoon and you're going to see a lot of pressure on democrats to be in a position of resistance from the beginning. >> we're seeing his poll numbers which aren't great. a0%. barack obama was at 70%. this is a guy who loves his polls, they're kind of -- it's political capital for the president. he's not doing well -- >> he will come with the lowest approval rating of any president. if they have support within their coalition, they are comfortable going ahead i'm not
sure how much this is going to shape the choices they make in congress. how far do they go toward rolling back some of the entitlement programs for the elderly. his new hhs secretary is part of the camp that wans to cut them. does donald trump move forward? a short break here, we'll come back, have more on the breaking news in ankara. we'll look at the implications for relations between the two countries. you're watching cnn live. sorry, just getting a quote on motorcycle insurance from progressive. yeah? yeah, they have safe rider discounts, and with total loss coverage, i get a new bike if mine's totaled. but how's their customer service? great.
starr. >> reporter: the shocking assassination of the russian ambassador to turkey, caught on video. ambassador andre karlov was shot dead while making a speech at an art exhibition in ankara. the horrifying moment the ambassador is hit and falls to the ground. after being shot in the back with multiple rounds. as onlookers scrambled for safety, the gunman shouted defiantly. >> god is greatest. do not forget aleppo, do not forget syria. do not forget aleppo, do not forget syria. get back, get back. only death will remove me from here. everyone who has taken part in this oppression, will one by one bay for it. >> turkish authorities say the attacker was neutralized. vladimir putin reacting to the assassination. >> the only response we should offer to this murder is stepping
up our fight against terror, and the criminals will feel the heat. >> the gunman was a law enfor enforcement officer. a 22-year-old member of the riot police born in turkey. the state department condemned the attack. >> we stand ready to offer any assistance that may be required as they investigate this despicable attack. >> after the attack as the ambassador was quickly taken to the hospital, turkish security forces swarmed the area. it is not clear what impact the killing may have now on turkey's sometimes fragile relations with russia, which hit an all time low after turkish forces shot down a russian warplane near the syrian border in november 2015. russia also is widely blamed by many in the region for its part in supporting syria's assad
regime, amid a humanitarian crisis taking place in war torn aleppo. following the assassination, erdawan and putin spoke by phone according to a russian news agency. he had served as russia's ambassador to turkey since 2013. he was married and had one son, according to the russian embassy. >> the question now for the russians may be to what extent their presence in turkey is also a target for terror attacks. barbara starr, cnn the pentagon. >> for more, we're joined by bob baer. at the highest level, the presidents of turkey and russia appear united in their response, that's not a position shared by many turks. they're angry for the role
russia has played in the fall of aleppo. >> turkey is sitting on a volcano right now, it's about ready to go off, it's thanks to aleppo, the war in syria a lot of turkish citizens are upset that erdawan is not doing more. not that he can do much. i know the regime. i know people there. very, very worried about the fallout from moos you will, aleppo. this mess in syria is doomed to move up into turkey. and they don't know what to do about it, they've been begging the american administration to stop the slaughter in aleppo, nothing we can do about it, but none the less, and the same goes for mosul. whoever this guy was, the policeman that shot the russian ambassador, whether he was motivated or in contact with the islamic state doesn't matter at
this point. what does is the sympathies for turkish citizens. >> the gunman shouted jihadist slogans, don't forget about aleppo. would you expect to see increased military operations in syria, as some form of retaliation by moscow? >> i think the russians are reta retaliating, they'll retaliate around aleppo, i don't think putin can let this go. i think putin is also worried about turkey, erdawan and putsen are getting along these days the best they can. the russians getting involved in syria to this degree are getting on the back of a tiger. and we're going to see more of this and see an escalation of russian involvement. >> one thing we're seeing in turkey. the president is not in control of domestic security which seemed to go from bad to worse
after erdawa dm locked up his own officials. >> he's personally worried about an assassination himself. his own security service whether they're part of the gulan or the islamic state. the coup in june came as a complete surprise to him. he got away by chance, and he's worried about his military and police now he should be. >> do you see this as a pretext of another widespread range of aal rests. anyone who could oppose erdawan being put in jail? >> i think he's truly frightened, yes, he will retaliate, purge more police, but the more he purges, the more tenuous the situation gets. he will also continue to go
against the kurds, more arrests there, turkey is -- let's put it this way, is not particularly stable at this point. >> okay, bob, good to speak with you, thanks so much. >> thank you. >> a short break, when we come back, we'll have more on our other top stories, why german authorities have been worried about attacks on christmas markets for months. who says i shouldn't have a soda every day?
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a grim scene in berlin where a truck plowed in to a crowd. investigators are investigating it as an act of terrorism one man has been arrested not far from the scene. police say a polish man found dead inside of the truck was not the driver. cnn intelligence security analyst and form her operative. it seems authorities have seen attacks on christmas markets. this one in berlin had not. >> john, the germans don't have a really good grip on the jihadist presence in their own
country. german police have been on full alert for attacks for the last couple of months. they were expecting this. it didn't come as a surprise. so many of these people in europe, the jihadists, simply have gone off the air. if they are talking at all, it's in chat rooms that the germans don't get in to it. there's new apps they can talk on. the germans can't get in to. these people are evolving quickly. the fact the germans missed this i don't think came as a surprise even to the germans. i think what's particularly tragic about this is germany is not involved in the wars in the middle east in any degree. yet these people are looking at germany as the enemy and i'd like to say you look at aleppo, and in syria continues the more likely there will be more attacks like this. >> as you said, germany is not directly involved in what is
happening in syria. why are they being targeted? >> it is a clash of civilizations. it is like r like the germans being aligned with the united states and germany. never mind that merkel, the chancellor was letting refugees in remained neutral for the rest of it. but in jihadist terms, it is apocalyptic struggle, islam against the west. so many of these people that, you know, thrive off conspiracies and thrive off the fact that the west intends to, you know, crush islam, in their view, and they hit back at anywhere they can. what it comes down to, as i have said over and over again, as long as the violence continues in the middle east, the more likely it is to migrate up in to
europe. these people will be hitting -- jihadists will be hitting the europeans for no other reason than they can't get to moscow or washington. >> with that in mind there is a new isis magazine. after the attack in france, the magazine put out advice on how to choose a truck for an appropriate attack like this. it read pick a truck large in keep in mind control blgt. reasonably fasten in speed of of rate of acceleration. heavy in weight, assuring destruction of whatever it hits. double wheeled giving victims less chance to escape from being crushed by the vehicle. >> these are hallmarks of terrorism. the truck looks like it was stolen. you can't prevent against these. a truck full of steel, couldn't
get through in a market like this. and a market like this is vulnerable. anywhere people conglomerate. jihadists, it lets them, they don't have to procure weapons or communicate. they simply have instructions and hit symbolic targets like the christmas market. it certainly fits the islamic state's mow dus op randy state's's modus operandi. the market opens at the start of advent and attracts people until christmas eve. they started to set up security and charge an entry fee but the venue hit on monday took pride in its openness. the public square in western
berlin is one of the busiest shop r shopping areas and one of the best known christmas markets. it's located near the kaiser memorial church, known as the church of remembrance. you are watching cnn newsroom live from los angeles. i'm john vause. stay with us. more on our breaking news right after this. there is no typical day. there is nothing typical about making movies. i'm victoria alonso and i'm an executive producer... ...at marvel studios. we are very much hands-on producers. if my office... ...becomes a plane or an airport the surface pro's perfect. fast and portable but also light. you don't do this 14 hours a day, 7 days a week for... ...decades if you don't feel it in your heart. listen, i know my super power is to not ever sleep. that's it. that's the only super power i have.
hello, everybody. you are watching cnn newsroom live from los angeles. ahead this hour, a truck plows through a christmas market in crowded berlin. we will speak to a witness. a police officer assassinates the russian ambassador to turkey and. donald trump has won the vote of the u.s. electoral college. we will look at the significance of the electors that did not follow the script. great to have you with us. it is just on 10:00 here in los angeles. i'm john vause. the second hour of "newsroom l.a." starts now.